Cockatoos in the Mangroves

Vanessa Lee-AhMat boldly confronts racism and prejudice against the indigenous Australians in her collection of poetry Cockatoos in the Mangroves. In this unforgettable collection, she profusely expresses her love and pride in her heritage, exemplifying her cultural identity as an Aboriginal-Torres Strait Islander and relaying her rich cultural experience on the island. This thought-provoking book is categorized into three sections, each containing twenty-two, eighteen, and nineteen poems respectively, each channeling distinct confessions and experiences. However, their expressions have one thing in common- pain.

The author begins with the category ‘Cutting Through The Racism,’ with a poem that forms the basis of this category. The poem describes a speck of history, when Terra Nullius was declared over indigenous Australians’ lands, thus robbing them of their land and culture, but lauding it as commendable in the pages of history. This category offers a variety of viewpoints regarding the discrimination of indigenous Australians and the bigotry directed at them, shedding light on suicides that are the result of humanity’s failure to fully accept them. The author makes a scathing attack on the system falsely claiming support, but she eventually bounces back with a drive and strength of a resilient woman.

‘Becoming,’ the second category in the collection, has some of the most striking poetry, including poems that are indicative of black woman’s fortitude and perseverance in the face of continual opposition and discrimination. In this category, one also sees the author’s staunch pride in her old-age customs and civilizations. The collection concludes with the category ‘Black Earth,’ which raises new issues about the government’s and people’s careless destruction of the ancestors’ land, animals, and other natural resources, which are being devoured by wildfire. The section chiefly warns the ignorant, ‘privileged’ population to act before unfavorable climate changes make everyone pay dearly for their irresponsible acts. Cockatoos in the Mangroves, the title of the poetry book, is the final poem, which wonderfully summarizes all of the major ideas in the poem.

When read without any context, the poems at first appear to be jumbled memories and thoughts. However, when these dispersed feelings are assembled and seen in the light of the context, the thoughts come together wonderfully and with clarity. The author has bravely articulated the injustices that individuals have endured simply for being indigenous Australians, venting and condemning the hierarchies that have so egregiously worn the blind cloth to the injustices that have been perpetrated against communities.

Cockatoos in the Mangroves is a moving collection of poems that are brief and direct. Readers that appreciate raw realism, history, and deep meaningful poetry will find this collection a much-needed addition to their library.

Pages: 108 | ASIN : B08L62WZTM

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The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 4, 2022, in Book Reviews, Four Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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